South Carolina House Disagrees with Senate’s Amendments to ‘Constitutional Carry’ Bill
In a significant development originating from Charleston County, S.C., the House of Republicans have declared their unwillingness to consider the Senate’s modification to the contentious “constitutional carry” bill. Passed by the Senate on February 1 with a majority 28-15 vote, the bill aimed to furnish South Carolinians with the prerogative to possess and operate firearms without a permit, thereby prompting legislative revisiting in the House.
House Favours Unaltered Form of the Bill
However, House Majority Leader Davey Hiott (R-Pickens), articulated the House’s alignment towards the original form of the bill, the one which carries a more profound resonance with the demands of the constituents. He asserted, “Whilst the intentions and actions of the Senate are respected, the House Republican Caucus will stay united in not agreeing with the Senate’s alterations. The unadulterated version of the Constituional Carry – Second Amendment Preservation Act will be forwarded to the Senate next week, mirroring the version that received an overwhelming majority vote in the House last year.”
Furthermore, he emphasised, “Our commitment to safeguarding the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding citizens remains unyielding. We contend that the unmodified form of this bill profoundly reflects the inherent rights and liberties of our constituents.”
Sentence’s Changes to ‘Constitutional Carry’
Denoted officially as House Bill 3594, colloquially as “Constitutional carry”, was proposed by Rep. Bobby Cox (R-Greenville) in 2023. The Senate-proposed amendments incorporated penalties for firearm owners without registration infringing gun laws, necessitated citizens to report purloined firearms to local police, and offered complimentary firearm training, intending to promote safety.
Upon the House’s declaration to reject the Senate’s modifications, Gov. Henry McMaster expressed his dissatisfaction with the stagnation in the legislative progression. McMaster critically commented, “The House Republicans’ resolution to reject the Senate’s alterations keeps the potential route for the ‘revolving door’ for perennial violent criminals. Amid pleas from crime victims and law enforcement agencies to enact a bill incorporating rigid penalties for unlawful gun ownership and usage, the General Assembly’s dilly-dally has spanned for over two years. Such measures can ensure perpetual incarceration of professional criminals, as opposed to their temporary confinement followed by incidents of shooting and killing innocent locals.”
Lowering his expression of disappointment, the frustrated governor added, “The public’s confidence is waning; so is mine.”
Next Steps in Legislation
Expected to submit their version of the bill to the Senate by mid-February, the House’s measure carried forward the current conventionalism: in South Carolina, a prospective gun owner must attain at least 18 years of age and acquire a concealed carry permit at 21 for public carrying or open in-vehicle possession of a firearm.
South Carolina’s prospective joining of the other 27 states exercising similar permitless carry legislation anticipates the successful enactment of the ‘Constitutional carry’.